Parler and section 230...again.
1) Clearly Amazon, Google, Apple are legally allowed to do business (or not) with anyone they like.
2) Personally, I wouldn’t have booted them. I think it was a bad call.
3) I actually think the call is tougher than you’d think at first blush.
4) Let’s assume for the sake of this post that “Big tech” is 100% liberal and all they want to do is shut down ALL conservative speech. Of course this is a straw man, but I am intentionally taking the most extreme position off the table because it’s not what I’m primarily concerned about. So, set aside this for now.
Let’s talk about 3. I’ve been screaming from the rooftops for I think a couple years now that the call from Trump, Cruz, Hawley, etc. etc. etc. to abolish 230 is a uniquely horrible idea. See my long post here: https://www.facebook.com/cpdog/posts/10158225836731351. Democrats don’t like 230 either, but for different reasons. The point is though MANY people are calling for 230 to go away and many people already interpret it in a completely wrong-headed way. Remember everyone screaming that Facebook/Twitter etc. should be considered to be publishers? Well, remember what that means folks? It means that they become responsible for the content on their site. It means, and I say this without the least bit of exaggeration: they get sued out of existence in about a month. Think I’m exaggerating a bit? Just as one example: Twitter was already sued under the Anti-Terrorism Act in “Fields v. Twitter.” The judge ruled that they were not liable only because of 230. But here’s the real kicker, friends. The DOJ has said: “Currently, Section 230 expressly precludes immunity in federal criminal enforcement actions, see § 230(e)(1), but some have suggested that Section 230 immunity may lie against the federal government in civil enforcement matters. Recently, the federal government has seen an uptick in instances in which Section 230 immunity is raised in negotiations over federal civil litigation, or is invoked as a defense in federal civil enforcement actions. **In discussions the Department held with thought leaders, industry representatives, and legal experts, there was wide agreement that Section 230 should not apply to suits brought by the federal government.** Indeed, many were surprised to hear that this was even an issue the government was facing. Civil enforcement is an important complement to the federal government’s criminal prosecutions. Civil actions by the federal government also would not raise the concern of a flood of private damages litigation over state law claims of defamation that Section 230 in part sought to address. The Department therefore believes that Section 230 should be amended to make clear that its immunity does not apply in any case brought by the federal government, whether criminal or civil.*” See: https://www.justice.gov/file/1286331/download
That’s right. There is a real concern on the part of all the “platforms” out there that the federal government could hold them criminally liable in cases like terrorism attacks. The government basically spells out that they would after all, “Section 230 should not apply to suits brought by the federal government.”
So yes, regardless of the fact that no doubt big tech leans far left, they are also concerned about facing jail time and going out of existence altogether.
My unpopular minority report conclusion for those of you that want MORE free speech: give companies MORE immunity not less.